NIU’s Jerry Kill guided NIU the Huskies to a school-record third consecutive bowl but won’t be around after accepting the head coaching job at Minnesota on December 5. The move came less than 48 hours after the Huskies’ lost to Miami (O) in the MAC Championship game in Detroit. Though the school named Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren its new head coach this past Monday he will stay with the Badgers until they face TCU in the Rose Bowl next month. Current NIU linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz will serve as interim coach for the 10-3 Huskies.
NIU is 2-3 lifetime in bowl games and have lost three straight (2006, 2008 & 2009)
Fresno State is making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance and has a 10-9 lifetime record in bowls
The Bulldogs (8-4) look to conclude their season with a third straight victory after losing to #13 Nevada & and #10 Boise State; three of their losses have come against ranked opponents this season.
Knox is second on the team with 74 tackles, and Lindsay has 14 catches for 208 yards.
2010 Humanitarian Bowl Key Players:
QB Chandler Harnish guides a balanced offense that ranks 13th in nation averaging 38 points; he amassed 2,991 total yards and matched a season high when he threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns in the MAC title game.
Chad Spann, the MAC player of the year, leads a running game (264.8 yards per game) ranked seventh in the FBS. The senior gained 1,293 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season, but was held to 54 on 17 carries versus Miami. Spann rushed for 172 yards on 34 carries in bowl losses to Louisiana Tech and South Florida the last two seasons.
Senior linebacker Alex Kube’s 77 tackles leads a defense ranked 16th in the country, giving up 19.1 points per game.
Without injured sophomore running back Robbie Rouse the Bulldogs closed the regular season with a 25-23 home win over Illinois. Rouse, 13th in the nation averaging 109.7 rushing yards, is expected to play and help lead an offense that averages 30.0 points.
Chris Carter, the Western Athletic Conference defensive player of the year, ranks seventh in the nation with 11 sacks while Logan Harrell has 10 1/2 for a unit that’s recorded 37 sacks, tied for sixth in the country.
Linebacker Kyle Knox, receiver Matt Lindsay and linebacker Daniel Salinas did not accompany Fresno State to Boise because they violated rules.
Passing Yards Per Game
Rushing Yards Per Game
Points Per Game
Pick: Fresno State 30 – NIU 17
Comment: The Huskies dropped their second MAC Championship heartbreaker in the last five years and then lost their coach just hours afterwards. It’s hard to believe that with so much change over a very short time period that they can regroup and beat a very formable Fresno State team that has a strong history of beating MAC teams.